Chicago Wrongful Death: Lawyer's estate settles $5 million lawsuit

March 11, 2011

According to Wikipedia: Wrongful death is a claim in common law jurisdictions against a person who can be held liable for a death. The claim is brought in a civil action, usually by close relatives, as enumerated by statute. Under common law, a dead person cannot bring a suit, and this created a legal hole in which activities that resulted in a person’s injury would result in civil sanction but activities that resulted in a person’s death would not.

The standard of proof in the United States is typically preponderance of the evidence as opposed to clear and convincing or beyond a reasonable doubt. Wrongful death is also the only recourse available when a company, not an individual, causes the death of a person; for example, historically, families have tried (both successfully and unsuccessfully) to sue tobacco companies for wrongful deaths of their customers.

The estate of a La Salle County attorney killed in a 2009 traffic accident near Streator has settled with a hospital corporation for $5 million.

Rebecca Berry of Streator settled recently with OSF Saint Francis Inc. over the Dec. 16, 2009, death of her husband, 57-year-old Richard J. “Dick” Berry.

Dick Berry died in a two-vehicle accident at Routes 23 and 17, south of Streator, when motorist David A. DeFrance (employers: Mobile Medical Systems, OSF Saint Francis Inc.) failed to halt at a stop sign while headed east on Route 17. DeFrance’s semi struck Richard Berry’s sedan, which was headed north on Route 23.

Berry was a partner in the law firm Myers, Berry, O’Conor & Kuzma Ltd., with offices in Ottawa and Streator.

His estate was represented by partners Robert J. Bingle and Thomas A. Demetrio of Corboy & Demetrio in Chicago. The $5 million settlement is one of the largest single wrongful death settlements in La Salle County.

via News Tribune – News – Local – Lawyer’s estate settles $5 million lawsuit.


If you or a loved one has been a victim of personal injury in Chicago or the surrounding area, contact or call us at 312-252-5252 for a free no obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.

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“I just wanted to say hello and a BIG thanks to you for what you did for me. It was a year ago, that I got the settlement, and I’m still stunned at what transpired… and so quickly.”J.A.